What About Using Corn Sugar In Your Wine?

Cane Sugar For Wine Making… I was looking for different ways to sweeten my wine and came across this corn sugar in your beer section of your catalog. I read that some use corn sugar in their beer instead of cane sugar. The article said it would give the beer a crisper taste. How do you think this would affect the wine? Is it possible that I could use corn sugar in my wine making?

Name: Patrick Davis
State: GA
Hello Patrick,

It is true that most beermakers will never add regular cane sugar to their beers. Cane sugar will give a cidery, winey taste to the brews. Instead homebrewers will add corn sugar, which ferments much more cleanly.

In the case of making wine, a “cidery”, “winey” flavor is not really an issue. These flavors actually fit in with the flavor profile of wines in general. The effect is fairly subtle as well. Even though it can become evident in a homebrew, in a homemade wine it hides very nicely. This is even more true with fuller-bodied wines.

There are some that use corn sugar in all their wines, religiously, and some that will only use it in certain situations, But most winemakers elect to never use corn sugar, at all. My personal opinion is that corn sugar can make a difference in some wines, mostly white wines with very little body — for example, a Pinot Grigio or a Riesling. But, the change is not necessarily for the better, it’s just different. And, the change will be very minor.

Some might notice a crisp, “mintiness” coming through in these lighter wines made with corn sugar but only very slightly. If the wine is already known for an herbal, fresh finish it might become more accentuated by the crispness/cleanness of the corn sugar, but beyond that you won’t notice too much, if anything.

So to sum it all up, you can try corn sugar in your wine making, but don’t expect too much difference in the resulting wine, and don’t expect to notice anything at all if you are using corn sugar in a fuller-bodied wine.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

7 thoughts on “What About Using Corn Sugar In Your Wine?

    • Bob, yes you can back-sweeten your wine using corn syrup. Just make sure that you add potassium sorbate to prevent re-fermentation.

  1. Can you wine with sugar cane syrup, the dark kind you find in the deep south, sold in a jar or can at a road side fruit stand made by Bubba, Cleatus or Old Man Smith?

    • Kevin, yes you can but because it is probably not pasteurized, you will need to boil it first. It will give the wine some caramel flavor depending on how much you use.

  2. I’ve made plum wine with cane sugar and it tasted good. This time I used corn sugar to increase alcohol strength. It didn’t taste as good. Could I mix corn and cane sugar to get sweet taste with stronger alcohol strength

    • Will, I suppose you could mix the two sugars but I am not sure why you need to. The cane sugar will make more alcohol as well as sweeten the wine.

  3. I make my own wine and use Karo syrup in many of my wines and never had a problem or complaint.
    We like sweet wines and I think it gives the wine a little vinnilla flavor and we all love it. I bottle 5 five gallon carboys. Niagara, Concord, Isabella, Edelweiss and many more. So go ahead and add it to your taste ,you won’t regret it.

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